During the Allen Township Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 27, resident John Klink described the scene around his Eisenhower Drive home: roads with only base paving, storm drains with weeds growing out of the top, a street light pole with no light. He added that vacant lots in the North Hills development are not maintained and that some areas have become dumping rounds for garbage. He told supervisors this has been the experience of both him and his wife, Alice, for three years.
“I feel like this development will never be done in our lifetime,” added Alice Klink. “You know what’s across the street from me? A dump.”
Construction in the North Hills development, owned by Tepes Construction, has been at a standstill since 2019 following the expiration in 2016 of a sewer agreement between Northampton Borough and Allen Township, leaving the developers with no sewer EDUs. Without them, new homes cannot be built.
“I would love to be building homes,” said Tim Tepes, who took over construction from his ailing father, Lou Tepes, Jr. “My hands are tied until we get the sewer permits…my lots are worthless….we can’t sell anything.”
This caused what Supervisor Dale Hassler called a “catch-22” during the meeting: supervisors would like Tepes to pave Eisenhower Drive and West 32nd Street, finishing construction of the roads. However, they know that these new roads will likely be destroyed once construction picks back up due to truck traffic and utilities, meaning Tepes would have to pave the development’s roads twice.
While Tepes said he is all for making improvements, he wants to improve something he knows he can sell.
“I want this project over with,” he told supervisors and residents. “My dad has 1.8 million dollars in that ground sitting there.”
He said the stress of this situation is a leading cause of his father’s failing health.
“[This has] killed my father already,” he said.
Tepes said he only has enough EDUs left for two buildings to be constructed. He purchased these EDUs before the agreement with Northampton expired.
“If we had sewer permits, we’d still be building,” he added. “That street would probably be done already.”
It was a sentiment that supervisors agreed with; however, they also said they understood the residents’ frustrations.
“I don’t think it is fair to the people who are paying taxes to this township to not have a finished road in front of their house,” said Hassler. “I understand Mr. Tepes’s concerns, but I have concerns for the residents also.”
Supervisors asked Tepes if he could give them a timeline of construction. They also asked whether he could meet with the code enforcement officer and township engineer at the site to go over the improvements and what can be done to help both him and the residents living in his development, something Tepes agreed to.
Solicitor Lincoln Treadwell told residents in attendance that the code enforcement officer is aware of the problems like garbage and weeds and is “working on it.”
As far as when sewer permits can be granted, construction can pick back up, and certificates of occupancy can be granted, Treadwell said he could not say. The township and Northampton borough remain locked in litigation.